Header image of page : VFJO / JAMES GAFFIGAN



Rimsky-Korsakov’s colourfully scored Scheherazade of 1888 is based on the Arabian Nights, the 1001 folk tales told each night – so the story goes – by the Sultana Scheherazade to her dangerous new Sultan husband, in order to escape being executed the following morning as his other wives have been. Rimsky-Korsakov’s four movements, rich in solo opportunities, capture the stories’ drama and exoticism without being strictly narrative, the whole bound thematically together by its two opening themes: the stern brass fanfare representing the Sultan, and the seductively curling solo violin as Scheherazade. The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship continues with majestically lilting music, after which The Story of the Kalender Prince ups the Eastern colour with its snaking woodwind solos. The Young Prince and the Young Princess is a sensual love story. The high-octane Finale then moves from The Festival at Baghdad to a sea storm and shipwreck, before Scheherazade gets a soft final word.


Scheherazade Op. 35